Innovation and China – these two words match perfectly since China is continuously developing its economy at a very fast pace. Over the recent years, we have seen a rapid transformation from a labor-intensive to an innovation-driven economy. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany has strengthened its activities in China to be embedded into the local innovation ecosystem to shape the future industry development with our partners.
This is why we proudly participated and exhibited at China’s International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, the first of its kind.
Holding the CIIE is a significant move for the Chinese government, giving firm support to trade liberalization and economic globalization. It also aims to actively open the Chinese market to the world, enabling countries and regions all over the world to strengthen economic cooperation and trade, and to promote global trade and world economic growth. The grand expo was attracting more than 2,000 government officials, international organization leaders, entrepreneurs and scholars from over 130 countries and regions. In total, more than 3,000 companies exhibited at the CIIE.
We showcased a wide spectrum of innovative products and technologies from our three core businesses Healthcare, Life Science and Performance Materials and hosting innovation workshops. I personally attended the grand opening ceremony in the Hongqiao Forum, met China’s President Xi Jinping, and took part in an innovation talk at our booth.
CIIE as platform to engage with partners and associations
Participating at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai demonstrates our commitment to and our confidence in the Chinese market as well as our continuous investments in China. We have been in China already for 85 years. And our history started in Shanghai at the Peace Hotel, where we opened the first sales office.
The first CIIE underlines China’s significance to the world economy. China is already one of the largest markets for healthcare and is also becoming the largest market for display solutions. Industry upgrades in China are happening in every sector we operate in. CIIE is not only a venue for companies to demonstrate products and technologies, but also a platform for us to collaborate with our partners to enhance these innovation and industry upgrades in China with our innovative technologies and solutions. It is also a great opportunity to engage with key stakeholders from government departments as well as industrial and trade associations.
In an innovation talk we intensively discussed the opportunities and challenges in this important market. Be it China’s ambition to catch up with the world in pharmaceutical research, development and production or efforts in display and semiconductor manufacturing. Concerning innovation, we debated how to accelerate local business growth through R&D.
In June this year, we inaugurated our OLED Technology Center China at our Performance Materials hub in Shanghai. There we host our Liquid Crystal Center, Display Materials R&D Center and Technology Application Network for our Surface Solutions business unit. This location will serve as a collaboration space for us and our customers as we work together to generate the ideal OLED display solutions. We believe in open innovation, since to be truly successful in today’s business world, I don’t think anybody can do it alone.
New partnerships in China
And Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany is doing a lot concerning partnering in China. We have recently announced a new collaboration with Alibaba Health which aims to provide Chinese patients and their families with improved access to healthcare services via a patient-centric health platform. And our Life Science business signed a new CRISPR core partnership with Tongji University, Shanghai.
In summary, CIIE gave us the great opportunity to showcase our solutions to China and to demonstrate the degree of localization that we have here in China, building a long-standing partnership with local suppliers. Therefore, I am looking forward to the next CIIE to come.